Thursday, December 31, 2015

Brooklyn Industries Dresses

My first Brooklyn Industries dress was actually a thrift shop find and I was lucky to snag it for $15. What I really loved about the dress was that it was so well made, with a nice inner lining and good fabrics. None of your cheap Forever 21 or H&M style disposable clothing. Of course Brooklyn Industries tends to charge like $100 for a dress instead of the $15 at H&M, so you will pay for the better quality.

The dress I found at the thrift shop worked great for me because it was a sleeveless black a-line most favorite type! Here are a few photos: 

Back during my red-head days. 

How cute am I? Also, how cold am I? I think this was in late March one year.
Not exactly Spring, but warm enough for a outdoor photoshoot if you're willing to brave the slight chill. 

Other than the black one above, I shopped their stores a few more times, but never really found anything that I liked that much, especially not for $100. And sadly, I was never able to find another one in a thrift shop either. One of my other favorite ways to get expensive clothes for cheap is to check eBay, but unfortunately Brooklyn Industries is such a small brand that I was never able to find their clothes online either. So, there remained but one of their dresses in my closet. 

Fast forward to this year...after my first Callen Lorde appointment, I had plenty of time to kill after my doctor's visit so I actually stopped by the Chelsea store. It was a good idea, because I totally found a cute dress that I really liked and that I think looked pretty good on me. It's a light, fun summer dress with a fun origami crane design. It fit perfectly and I loved the feel of the smooth, light fabric on my legs.

Nothing quite as fun as post-medical procedure dress shopping!

Finding the perfect outfit makes me happy. Can't you tell how very happy I am? 

What wasn't quite as fun as the fabric was the price tag. $100! With a grand worth of laser hair removal in my future, I wasn't quite ready to throw down that much on a new dress when I already had a closet full of them. One other time I went back and they had the dress on sale for $78, a pretty good markdown, but still not that great. Then, a couple weeks ago, I was biking through Park Slope and saw that Brooklyn Industries had a 40% off clearance sale! Woo hoo! I found the dress, tried it on (in boy mode) and it still fit perfectly! Best of all, it had been marked down further and there was also a sale as well! I got it for $48! Half price! 

Now my only problem is wanting to wear this new dress every single time I go out. Okay seriously. I totally wore it out to a meetup group, then a second time wore it out for a shopping trip and drinks with a friend. I'd keep wearing it out, but my pictures are starting to get stale! This is why I always need new keep my pictures from getting too repetitive.

Shopping is the sacrifice I make for all of you!

In early December, I also got some new ankle boots after the zippers broke on my old ones (hey, those were Payless and lasted a year, so I'm still impressed they lasted that long). For my new shoes, I went to a fancier ladies' shoe store in my neighborhood and found some super cute, pretty comfortable fur lined ankle boots with like a 1" heel. With those and some opaque black tights, the crane dress and maybe a cardigan over it, I managed to put together a cute, comfy outfit that worked for winter. 

Here are some pics I took out, on one of the unseasonably warm December nights a couple weeks ago: 

Though the Promenade is super picturesque, it has the unfortunate downside of being super incredibly windy. So it can be hard to capture a good photo. Luckily I managed to snap a few that didn't have my hair blowing all in my face. Plus, I just love the feeling of the wind blowing around my dress. It's such a great feeling. 

Well, I have friends coming over for New Year's Eve tonight, so, in the interest of keeping my photos fresh, I'll probably refrain from wearing this exact same outfit again. Maybe I'll wear a totally different dark sleeveless a-line dress. Either way I'll definitely post up new pictures!

Happy 2016 everyone!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

My First Visit to Callen Lorde Community Health Center

Callen Lorde has a  "no pictures" policy and I respect that. So I'll just be peppering this post with
random pictures of me being cute. Hope you don't mind.

Ever want to get on hormones but didn't quite know how to go about it? Okay, that was me. Honestly, the American medical industry is baffling enough when I have a basic illness or injury, and I even have insurance. When you're trying to get something out of the ordinary, like transgender care, it's even worse.

As soon as I discovered the internet I started looking up transgender related pages. Okay, the actual first thing I looked up online was song lyrics, but later, after everyone had gong to sleep, then I looked up transgender websites. Back in the day there were a few Geocities blogs and whatnot, and the bios almost all talked about hormones. But I had no idea how to get hormones, or even how to find a doctor who would prescribe them. One time I did go actually book a psychology appointment, but couldn't actually get up the courage to bring up my transgender feelings. Instead, I lied about being depressed or something and then never went back.

Luckily, there was one amazing thing I was to find on the internet; friends. The best part about those early days was the amazing friends I met. We would talk on Yahoo messenger, check each other out on urnotalone and friend each other Myspace. It was one of my Myspace friends who first told me about Callen Lorde. She was awesome then, but she would go on to be TV star Jamie Clayton. Yeah, I'm bragging.

We used to be Myspace friends back in the day. I had a friend who knew Theo Kogan who knew her. Small world.
Callen Lorde Community Health Center is in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan in NYC and specializes in providing care for the LGBT community. Based on what I had read of other doctors, I thought there must be an insane waiting list or something, but nope. I called them at 212-271-7200 and booked an appointment for a few weeks in the future. It was super easy. 

When I showed up for my appointment, the first thing they made me do was sit and fill out paperwork. That's how all doctors' offices work. I think it's in the Hippocratic Oath (somewhere in the back). One nice thing is that they let you put down your preferred name and preferred pronouns, which I love. It's something that instantly made me feel more comfortable.

I love comfort. That's why I own a pillow factory. 

The first person I met was a mental health professional. It wasn't too in-depth. Mostly I think they were there to make sure that I was neither a drug addict nor suicidal. I mean, if I were either, they totally would have offered support, but I think generally wanted to make sure I was a healthy, functioning adult capable of making my own decisions.

Next, they put me in a regular doctors' type examination room There I got an HIV test (negative!) and a hepatitis booster. Then the nurse, a cool dude with tattoos and a definite LA attitude, took some vials of blood. Now, I should say that I am super bad when it comes to blood. Having blood drawn makes me faint and it is an awful situation. I get super hot and cold at the same time. My vision becomes total stars and starts to tunnel to black, my hearing turns to high pitch beeps and I feel an awful sense of dread and panic. It's called the vasovagal response. It just happens to some people. It scares me, because I know that's what dying will feel like. Dying is just not getting enough blood to your brain. Well, vasovagal response is what that feels like. It freaks me out to know what dying will feel like. Thankfully the nurse was super nice and professional and made me feel 100% better. He gave me some water and made me lay down, which made me feel better a few minutes later.

If I'm this bad at the sight of blood, I should be super thankful that I don't have periods. 
Next, I graduated to an actual doctor. My first doctor at Callen Lorde wouldn't let me take hormones until I quit smoking. This is because estrogen can cause serious blood clots in smokers. But, she recommended a good book, Allan Carr's "Easy Way to Stop Smoking." After reading it, I quit cold turkey with no cravings or side effects. It was great. I recommend it to any smokers.

Sorry, no more smoking pics. Also, I've moved on from Pabst Blue Ribbon. 

After I quit smoking, I went back and met with my doctor. Basically, I just said, I want some hormones. She walked me through all the effects, potential effects and side effects, made sure I understood and then gave me a prescription. At Callen Lorde, they're used to the request. When reading other peoples' stories I hear about "gatekeepers;" non-transgender friendly medical professionals, who make trans people jump through numerous ridiculous hoops to get care.

I dress like this because I just love being a man. 

Thankfully (and I am super thankful), Callen Lorde believes you when you say you want to live your life as the gender you're comfortable being! I was able to get HRT on my first visit after quitting smoking. Plus there's a pharmacy on the first floor, so you can pick up your prescription right there. It's great.

There's a one month visit just to check your blood and then after that visits are quarterly. My next quarterly appointment is in March. I'm looking forward to it. That'll be my fourth month on HRT.

What I assume I'll look like after four months HRT. 

So, to sum up, I love Callen Lorde. They are professional and supportive. And while they don't make you jump through bullshit hoops, they will make you jump through some hoops to show that you're healthy and well informed. And they'll make sure you're getting taken care of as a person as well.

Also I'd like to thank my very good friend, Jamie Clayton for telling me about Callen Lorde.

We're so close. We're basically like sisters. Distant, distant sisters. 

And I'd also like to thank the good people at Nerf Toys, a division of Hasbro, for making such fun foam dart guns. The perfect accessory for any woman.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Shopping Can Be Scary (But It's Totally Worth It)

It's totally true. Shopping for women's clothes, shoes and makeup can be scary. I've been going out shopping now for almost twenty years, but even for me it can still be a little bit nerve-wracking going out to a store. Still, it can be really fun to go shopping girled up and there's nothing quite so amazing as being in a room full of beautiful dresses that you can totally put on!

When I was in Georgia in my teens, I was absolutely terrified of shopping, mostly for fear that someone I knew would see me. Or perhaps even more terrifying, someone who knew my parents would see me. Heck, it terrified me just to be in the ladies section (of course back then it was the juniors section) in a big store. Generally, I'd restrict my shopping to Salvation Army or to after midnight shopping at Wal-Mart. Luckily no one I knew ever saw me.

Once I moved to New York, I started to feel more comfortable shopping in women's clothing stores or in the ladies section. Still, I only ever shopped in guy mode. Going out a girl was till pretty new and terrifying for me back then. So, I'd hit up the cheap clothing stores on Steinway Street in Astoria, Queens and get my skirts and dresses and shirts and things. A place called Easy Pickins was one of my favorite. It was a fairly working class neighborhood, so there weren't any nice places at all. You literally had to go one neighborhood over to Woodside to find an Old Navy. But, as someone who had never really been able to shop without fear it was amazing.

The total cost of this outfit was $23.95
Only once do I ever remember my gender being an issue. Once I was walking past Goodwill, when I spotted a silver sequined mini-dress in the window. I asked a salesclerk what size it was and she said it was a medium. I asked if I could try it on and the lady smile and said "Is it for you?" I said it was and she was like "Of course." I think in her mind, if she was going to go to the trouble of taking it off the mannequin, she wanted to be sure it was at least for someone worthy. Luckily I was worthy.

Another time I was in a small shop and there was a cute dress they had in a 10. Now, sizes can be crazy, so while I was ordinarily a 10, I wanted to be sure the dress would fit me. I was in guy mode, but I asked if I could try it on. The salesclerk said no, I was absolutely not allowed to try a dress on. Now, what was so weird about this situation was that there was one fitting room in the entire store. Just one room. It was behind a locked door. I could have asked to see the manager, but the lady pissed me off so much I didn't want to buy the dress at that point, even if it fit.

I bought a different dress, thank you . 
My first time going out shopping as a girl was actually in Astoria, Queens. I had started to get much more comfortable being out as a girl and decided to go shopping at one of the more upscale shops in the area. This was a dress shop where a dress might cost $50-$75, and while it wasn't exactly an upscale boutique, it was fancy enough to be a intimidating.

I went in and grabbed a couple things to try on. Honestly, I don't even remember what they were and asked if I could try them on.One of the sales clerks, an impeccably groomed gay dude showed me to a room, then said "I'm going to go get some other things for you to try." He came back with a couple of items, including one black wrap dress that he had to help wrap me up in and then tie the belt tight around it. At the time I was super nervous, worried that I looked stupid, that I wasn't passing and that I was ridiculous out in the store. I didn't buy anything, not even the dresses recommended by the nice clerk and just hurried home.

It would actually be years before I went shopping as a girl again. It takes a lot of confidence just to go outside as a girl and that's maybe just to walk around. It takes even more confidence to go into a store and to interact with people. And I think it takes the most confidence and courage to attempt to fit in to a wholly female space. For me the latter still gets me nervous. If I'm using the bathroom in a big place like an airport or using the fitting room in a large store like Macy's I get super nervous. I'm afraid someone will call me out, be like "Sir, what are you doing in there."

My first time doing some serious shopping as a girl was a few years ago. A few weeks before my coming out party, I got girled up and went to Macy's to try and find the perfect party dress. Once I got past my initial skittishness, I was fine. No one really paid me any attention at all as I walked around the dresses and loading my arms with beautiful pieces to try on. With a few in my hands, I walked back toward the fitting rooms but didn't see an employee in sight. So, I found a vacant fitting room, shut the door and tried on some dresses.

Immediately, I fell in love the with the first black one and the first red one above. They were way more expensive than I was used to, but I'll be damned if they didn't fit like a glove and I didn't look hotter than a Georgia summer in them. Had to buy them. So, I took them to the counter to and wouldn't you know bank thinks that just because I'm buying $250 worth of women's clothing that someone has stolen my card. So I do my best to laugh it off with the sales ladies, called my bank and got them to authorize the charge. Super embarrassing, but I had done it! I'd shopped as a girl and it was awesome!

Oh my entire room full of beautiful designer dresses in every shape and color and I can just walk in and try on any that I want? When I was growing up, I remember how rare it was to be able to put on a dress. You'd have to wait for no one to be home and then you could try on your sister's dresses. When I visited my grandparents, I could try on some of my aunts dresses, but that was it. That was the only chance I ever got. But here was a giant room full of thousands of dresses that I could walk in and try on for free! Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh! 

A couple of months later I went back to Macy's and went shopping again. Instead of sandals, I wore flats and brought a pair of black heels in a tote bag. This time I found a purple, satin Ralph Lauren dress that fit like a glove and looked beautiful on me. And I looked beautiful in it. For the first time, I left the dressing room and walked over to the three mirrors they had up by the door. It was $160 but it looked so beautiful I absolutely had to get it!

This time, as I was buying it, the saleslady literally said "Oh, I saw you trying this on, it looked so good on you!" Holy crap, the saleslady saw me using the ladies' fitting rooms and was totally okay with it! Okay, this was amazing. I was totally in. I could totally shop as a woman and have a great time doing it! All I had to do was not fall in love with the clothes I tried on. 

Good luck...

I think my greatest validation came when I tweeted a photo of me trying on a dress at the Macy's flagship store on 34th street in NYC.

So I guess Macy's corporate has officially given me the green light! That's a good feeling!

Shopping as a woman can be tricky and scary and to my readers who've never tried it, I say first of all, get over your fear, have fun, and be respectful of the salesclerks and other shoppers where you shop. Only use the fitting rooms of the gender you're presenting as, get in, try on your clothes and get out - don't make a big production of it, and if you encounter a bigot or an asshole, be polite, but firm, as to speak with a manager and if the manager gives you crap, get their info and complain to corporate. Though, honestly, I don't think you'll get any crap. I think people tend to mind their own business.

I think you'll have an amazing time going shopping and I'd love to see your photos!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

My First Experience with Laser Hair Removal

Okay. So I'm really doing this! Yep. I'm officially changing genders. In fact, I've event started HRT! So here's a little bit of news on that:

Be sure and check back for some videos on my experiences with hormones and with doctors.

But, first I wanted to talk about laser hair removal. Why talk about laser first? Well, it's because I was going to get laser regardless of whether or not I ended up fully transitioning. Seriously, I'd love to not have any facial hair. As a regular guy I really hate shaving and it'd be amazing to be able to skip that step every morning. As someone who sometimes presents female (call it crossdressing if you must) I'd love to be able to skip the whole foundation part of my makeup routine, and as a transgender woman, I don't want stupid hair on my lovely female face!

Time to get rid of it! I've done some research on electrolysis and on lasers. Laser seemed a better option, both for cost and convenience. There were many more places I could find doing laser than doing electrolysis. Plus a lot of other transgender women have used laser and had good results. So lasers. That's like some crazy sci-fi stuff right? Well luckily I have another sci-fi invention, the interconnected network of computers (or "Intnetcom") to do research.

On the Intnetcom there were a lot of options and they were expensive. So, I looked on Groupon and found some seriously cheap ones. Like super cheap. Like a year of unlimited laser sessions for $95. That raised flags for me...all of them seemed way too good to be true. Plus I'm naturally suspicious of any ad on the Intnetcom that's sexier than it needs to be. All these laser hair removal ads on Groupon were more sexed out than the parking lot of a high school prom.

Wanna take me to prom? Just send $200 to my Nigerian-based Paypal account. 

So, I did what any skeptical person does online and tried to find some genuine user reviews. But, I couldn't find user reviews for any of the super cheap ones. Seriously. I couldn't even find them on Yelp. Then I searched for the addresses they gave and couldn't even find spa or laser businesses at those addresses. I'm not sure they're all entirely scams, but I was not quite ready to get out my credit card just yet.

Doing some more research, I found some blog postings and other write-ups people by who had had bad experiences with cheap laser hair removal, including some who got cheap sessions off of Groupon and ended up with facial scaring. That's something I definitely didn't want. Have you seen my face? I'd like to keep it scar free thank you!

You can't tell in this photo, but I have one scar on my forehead from a childhood bathroom slip-and-fall and another on my chin from a bike accident when I was 11. Thanks, makeup!

Having ruled out Groupon's alleged (see, I said "alleged," you can't sue me) dubious laser hair removal places, I went back to Yelp and found the best reviewed laser hair removal spa in my general area.  I figured I'd go with the best reviewed one. That seemed smartest.

Tres Belle had very good Yelp reviews, so they were the the place I decided to trust with the act of firing lasers at my face. It was much more expensive than Groupon. Way more expensive. But, you get what you pay for, right?

Anyway, I booked an appointment for a free consultation.

I didn't go in girl mode because I figured the makeup would interfere. I had however, just visited my doctor that morning in girl mode, so between appointments, I rushed home, washed off the makeup and then rushed out to the laser treatment.

It was a small spa, decorated like any other massage parlor or relaxation spa type business tends to be. I went in and then filled out some paperwork. Honestly, I hate it when places do this. Doctors are the most notorious. Why do you make me fill out all this junk on your website if you're just going to make me fill it out on paper when I get to your office? If you need my signature, just print out what I entered on your website. Ah well. This isn't unique to Tres Belle, so I won't knock any points off for it.

My consultation, as it were, involved the owner/chief laserteer explaining everything on the waiver that I had just read and signed. I get that. A lot of people probably don't read the waiver. The woman was very nice. She's Eastern European, maybe in her late 40s. She was very honest about what results could be expected, what complications could occur. Taking me back to the little room, she showed me the machine and explained how it worked.

I was kinda semi-androgynous, with a little bit of makeup and such still on (I was rushed and did a bad job washing it off). She never mentioned anything. She probably figured I was trans when I went in with tiny eyebrows and makeup and asked to have my beard removed, but she never said anything about it. Another local transgender woman I spoke with said they were trans-friendly, so that's good.

My only complaint about them was that they tried to upsell me into buying a course of ten treatments for $900 rather than buying individual treatments for $140. I get that's a big discount, but it was my first time in the place and this was the very first pitch she made. I was definitely not ready to plunk down almost a grand for a treatment I'd never even tried. Luckily, she didn't push for the hard sell and I agreed to do one round of treatment.

The process itself  was a little strange. I laid down on a paper covered little bed and put on some special glasses (actually I kept my eyes closed the entire time just to be safe). She started by putting some super cold lotion on my face. Seriously, it was freezing. It felt like someone was rubbing slightly melted ice cream all over me. Weird sensation.

The laser itself was painful, but not too bad. I tend to have a high tolerance for pain. The areas she did were around one by two inches at a time and certain areas were much more sensitive than others. My jawline was fine, but my neck underneath my chin and my upper lip were definitely the most painful. What was really weird was that I could see the laser flashes even with my eyes closed. But, I didn't have any after images or anything, so I think I'm okay. The ice cream lotion started to melt and slid down my neck in a way that definitely felt like I was bleeding. I knew it wasn't blood. But it was weird. Mostly it was just a weird set of unfamiliar sensations. There was pain, but it wasn't bad at all.

Well, we'll see how session two goes. That'll be in January.

She said it'd take ten days to notice any hair loss and that it usually takes ten sessions or so to really get the job done. That's a year from now I guess. But, that may be a year on hormones and a face free of facial hair. That sounds like a good place to be.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thanksgiving Day Makeup

Recently, I posted some photos from my Thanksgiving dinner out in NYC. That day, I was so happy with my makeup, I thought it would be a fun time to discuss some of my makeup tips/tricks for everyone. Also, I'll include a product list down below. 

Okay, first off, it's taken me years of practice to learn the makeup skills I do have. I see people on /r/MakeupAddiction or Pinterest and I am blown away by their skill. When I look at their work, I swear I feel like I'm smearing axle grease on my face. While blindfolded. And fighting off an army of angry marmosets. 

Never close your eyes. That's when the marmosets ambush.

Well, either way these are the skills I have, so let's get talking about how I apply them. Now, I'm not going to show a before-and-after on this, just because I hate showing my guy face online. So you instead just get to see my pretty face.

The first step for me is to shave my face twice; first going with the grain, then again. Then I spot check for any spots that feel coarse or that I might have missed. Then I wait for my neck and/or chin to stop bleeding. Okay, that totally does happen. Not all the time. I just started laser, so I'm hoping that one day I can skip this step. 

Next I put lotion on my face to moisturize. I'd like to think that this means your skin absorbs the moisture in the cheaper lotion and not the expensive makeup. That's what I tell myself. 

For foundation, I use Maybelline Dream Matte Mouse which is nice and thick and I think it makes a good beard cover. Seriously, I keep three or four different colors on hand throughout the year so when I get more sun I'll have makeup to match. Next I like to put a powder on top to provide a more matte look. Contouring is a little more advanced, but I do a simple verion where I just use a lighter powder and a slightly darker bronzer. Currently, I'm enjoying the bolder NYX blushes, though I understand why some people might want to avoid an artificial color and go with a more natural. 

As natural as it gets for me.

For my eyes, I use an eye shadow primer, though I'm still not convinced it's all that important. But better makeup artists than me have recommended it. There are a lot of good shadows on the market, and I have a few different pallets, though I usually try for a blended smokey eye pattern. I have hooded eyes, so I've found some tutorials on that. For the shadow, I just use the little brush/spoon/Q-tip things that come with the shadow. You tell me what they're called! But, I do use a blender brush to smooth everything out. 

Luckily now, many eye shadow palettes come with instructions, which is great. When I was growing up they just had one little color per box and you just figured it out, I guess? The little guide is definitely helpful. Many years ago I would do my eyeliner first, figuring that if I messed it up it was best to be able to start over without messing up the rest of my makeup. But now I do the shadow first. I'm fairly confident in my liner game.  

For liner, I cheat a little. I'll use a pencil first to trace out along my lash line, then do a wing with a liquid or a felt tip eyeliner marker. The pencil will give you a little more control (and won't smudge as easily) but the liquid or makers look better. Luckily, my hooded eye hides any slight screw ups for me! 

Can you spot seven screw ups in this picture? 

Now for brows! This is a game that I've only just figured out. The NYX Pushup Bra for Eyebrows is seriously the best product I've found. If they ever discontinue it I'm gonna have to stock up like some sort of bunker survivalist. I'll have fifty gallon drums of these pencils buried in a converted school bus twelve feet under my Montana farm.

This product is so great because it also has instructions! It's easy to use but really gives you the perfect way to highlight your brow bone, brighten your eyes and do your brows. It's awesome and I love it! Also, I regularly pluck my brows and that really helps too. I strongly urge all the gender rebels out there to do it (unless they're female-to-male of course).

Lips I do last, mostly because they're so easy to have rub off. I start with a dark red liner that I use to color in my full lip (going a little bit outside on the lower lip). Then do whatever color lipstick appeals to me that day. Usually I'm for bold red, but that's just my style. I will do gloss some times. Gloss tends to be sticky and your hair will get all caught up in it, so sometimes, if it's windy out or something, I'll wait until I'm at my destination and then maybe gloss up then. I do like how gloss looks though

Full Product List: 

Foundation & Contouring: 
  • Covergirl TruBlend Minerals #410 Medium 
  • Maybelline Dream Matte Mouse #4 Light Nude
  • Rimmel Natural Bronzer #001 Transparent 
  • NYX Baked Blush Illuminator BBL02 Statement Red.
  • Covergirl Instant Cheekbones
  • BareMinerals ID #38745 Faux Tan
  • BareMinerals ID #26165 Bisque 

  • Revlon Colorstay 16 Hour Eye Shadow #570 Luscious 
  • NYC City-Proof 24 Hour Eye Shadow #655 Madison Square Park 
  • Wet & Wild Coloricon pencil #656A White
  • NYC Kohl Pencil #921 Jet Black
  • Covergirl Bombshell Lashblast Very Black
  • NYX Eyeshadow base #ESB02 White Pearl
  • NYX Pushup Bra for Eyebrows 

  • Prestige Lipliner BL-12 Rosewood
  • NYX Matte Lipstick #MLS10 Perfect Red
  • Smashbox Legendary Lipgloss 

By the way, I was not paid for any of these product mentions. Though I'm willing to be. NYX,
Maybelline, give me a call any time! 

The best thing I can say for anyone who wants to get good at makeup is get lots of practice! It's like any skill, be it bowling or setting kites on fire from a distance using only matches which you spit out of a straw. It always takes practice to get good. And don't be too intimidated by expensive makeup like Sephora or MAC. I like those stores, but drug store brands are perfectly good too, especially if you're just starting out. 

So get out and practice! But also check out Youtube and Makeup Addition and other sites for great ideas, tutorials and products. 

Good makeuping everyone! 

Bonus dress pic.